CHICAGO (CN) – A married couple who extorted $54,000 from a man who was in love with the wife, by pretending that the husband was torturing her, were sentenced to federal prison.
Juan Hacha and his wife, Ixchel Guadalupe Solano, extorted money from a man who had express romantic interest in Solano, not knowing she was married, the U.S. Attorney’s office said in a statement announcing the sentencing.
Hacha, 32, was sentenced to 77 months in federal prison; Solano, 30, both of Hammond, Ind., to 42 months. They were also ordered to pay back the money.
The couple made repeated calls to the victim last year, in which Hacha threatened to torture Solano and her two daughters if the man did not pay him $75,000.
“In some of the more than 25 extortion calls, Solano cried and screamed as if she was in excruciating pain, telling the victim that she had been shot in the leg, that her fingers had been broken, that she did not know where her children were, and begging the victim to help her and her daughters,” the U.S. Attorney’s Office said. “At the same time, Hacha threatened to brutally kill the victim and his family if he did not receive the money he demanded.”
After paying more than $54,800, the victim of the hoax contacted the FBI, who found the couple and arrested them at a restaurant in Munster, Ind.
They pleaded guilty in February to conspiracy and communicating extortion threats by phone.
A number of the telephone calls that were recorded during the investigation were played at Hacha and Solano’s sentencing hearing Friday.
The victim testified in court “that his life was ruined by his fear for the safety of himself and his family, as well as the safety of Solano and her two children,” prosecutors said.